This is a tough one!
Tony Robbins was doing an interview with someone about the different times of history as compared to the times of our current lives. The truth is that each time of our life brings us extra sleep challenges.
A typical cycle:
- When you were a child you went to sleep when it got dark and woke up when the sun came up.
- As a teenager, they moved your bedroom to the basement and it was always dark. You probably slept a lot.
- Then you got out on your own and partied all-night and slept all day. I am sure that wasn’t healthy at all.
- Then, you got married and had babies and were exhausted and wanted to sleep but couldn’t because your babies wanted you 24/7. You were probably very sleep deprived during that time.
- You finally started sleeping normal again and then…
- Your children started dating and driving. That just about does you in! Thank goodness for cell phones, but even so, you can’t fall asleep until they got home.
- Then your kids went to college and you started sleeping like you did when you were a child again. Asleep when it gets dark and up when the sun rises…life is good.
Sleep is so important. We are meant to recharge our batteries nightly and if we don’t do that we start to bear the consequences.
Some of the sleep deprivation affects:
- Weight (gain or loss)
- Function (performance)
True story: Michelle is about 13 years of age and she does not sleep at night. The doctors think that the problem is hormonal. The problem is so severe that she is missing large amounts of school and seeing sleep specialists from outside our area. They made some changes to her environment to help her sleep to be less disrupted. It is like eating, the cause needs to be looked at to try to influence her behavior and at the same time, you do everything around it to try to make it better. What they did to her environment did not eliminate the underlying problem. It did take away any of the contributors. They took out anything with a small light on it, digital clocks, boom box, nightlights, etc. They put up 100% room darkening drapery so that no light could enter from outside. All the colors in the room were limited to non-stimulating and tranquil. She stopped using the computer or watching television several hours before bedtime to slow down the brain a little. She quietly sat and read a book before bedtime.
Whenever you have troubles sleeping, you could tie your troubles to hormones, stress, pharmaceutical drugs, children’s activities and wine! As long as you know the reason, I think you can eliminate the problem
Some tips for better sleep:
- Establish a rhythm of sleep, go to bed at the same time nightly and get up at the same time.
- Take short naps if you missed sleep the night before (20 minutes is optimal)
- Supplement your Vitamin D (if you aren’t sure, have a blood test and get it checked…then supplement it)
- Get some sunshine during the day
- Get exercise during the day
- Turn off your television, computer and iPad at night
- Turn lights down at night
- Have a comfortable bed
- Block noise out
- Block light out
- Make sure your bedroom is cool
- No caffeine 10-12 hours before sleep
- No large meals (especially beef) before bed
- No alcohol
- No smoking
- Learn relaxation techniques
- Deep breathing
- Muscle relaxation (like biofeedback where you progress through your body)
- Envisioning your peaceful place
I am an expert on getting back to sleep. Over the years, this has been my challenge. Yet, I confessed earlier to getting on my iPad and checking Facebook. That would be a huge no-no. Yet for me it is relaxing. I can tell you one of the most tempting thing to do is watching television. Don’t even go there, Watching television sometimes relaxes you, but more often stimulates, even more often, you end up watching television until it is time to get up because you get caught up in a movie.
- Whatever you are thinking about when you wake up, empty it out of your head by substituting thoughts.
- Relax. Don’t even think about falling back asleep, think about relaxing and take the pressure off.
- If you have to, get up and do something for a few minutes to break things up. Stay away from the television and computer more like reading a book or article.
One last word…on sleeping pills
Cathy shares her experience with Lunesta and Fluorazepam. “I had a doctor, when I was going through big hormonal changes, who gave me sleeping pills. He said take no more than 3 nights to get you back in the rhythm, then quit taking them. If you are not inclined to addiction, this can be a life saver. DO NOT TAKE sleeping pills for more than 3 days. Even if they say they are non-addictive, they are! The sleeping pills that are “non-addictive” (Lunesta) are still addictive in a different way that is that you cannot sleep without them. If you can avoid sleeping pills altogether, you should. I was taking the “non-addictive” type sleeping pill about 10 years ago. I could not sleep without them. To get off them, I took my Fluorazepam and went on a cruise. I took the Flourazepam for one night. Then I figured that I was not going to need to perform for 8 days…so I went cold turkey. You don’t get any kind of withdrawal…you just don’t sleep. I thought I could sleep whenever I had a chance and I didn’t really have to be nice to anyone and the world would not end if I made a mistake. It worked. There was one thing I hadn’t figured in that helped, the relaxation of the trip. That helped and by the end of the trip I was not taking any sleeping pills.
I quit taking sleeping pills altogether in 2009. By changing the way that I eat, getting lots of exercise and being more aware of the things I do, I have eliminated my sleep problems entirely! Well, except when I have little munchkins who get scared at night and crawl into bed with me but that is okay, grandmas like to snuggle and that is very relaxing.”
What are some of the sleep challenges you have had? How do you get to sleep? Share it below! I can’t wait to hear!